This former capital of the great Inca Empire is a treasure trove of archaeological remnants and a history buff’s dream. Its evocative stone streets are lined with striking churches and mansions which were built by the Spanish on the foundations of the old Inca citadel. Highlights include the Plaza de Armas, the Baroque church of Santo Domingo and the Koricancha, or Temple of the Sun which means ‘courtyard of gold’. Explore the narrow streets of the Bohemian suburb of San Blas which is renowned for its talented artisans.
Cuzco is the gateway to the stunning Sacred Valley as well as the starting point for mesmerising train journeys to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu.
While travelling in Peru, especially Cuzco, be aware of the risk of altitude sickness which is easier to prevent than treat. Allow time to acclimatise and be aware that strenuous exercise at high altitudes can be dangerous, even if you are very fit. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, and fatigue and locals swear by coca tea to ease the symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids; avoid alcohol and cigarettes; allocate rest days; and once you are above 10,000ft, try not to increase the altitude at which you sleep by more than 980-1640ft a night.